A Melbourne resident who has been sitting in the same seats of the Fireball Roberts Grandstand at Daytona International Speedway since 1960 got an unlikely momenta from Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Daytona International Speedway is undergoing renovations, which include brand new seats all along the front stretch. So the old seats were being removed and it just so happened that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was taping a commercial in the same section Dave Shultz's seats are in, Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports.
Earnhardt saw the eighth seat, which is his number and, so on a whim, he signed it.
Daytona International representatives found out whose seats they were, Dave Shultz's, and asked Earnhardt to personalize them for Shultz.
Earnhardt did, and the gift from the track to the fan who has been a loyal ticket holder since 1960 was underway.
Little did they know that the gift was even more special because Shultz has been a huge Earnhardt family fan since he can remember.
He rooted for Dale Earnhardt Sr. and watched Dale Earnhardt Jr. come up through the ranks, rooting for him as well. He has autographs from both of them on hats, model cars and other memorabilia, not including his seats.
"I will cherish this forever," Shultz said of the seats that were delivered this week. "It's all special, from Dale Earnhardt Jr. signing it all the way down to. ... It's a piece of history from Daytona International. It's a one of a kind."
Shultz, 74, heard about the signing when a friend saw it on the Daytona International Speedway Facebook page.
Then the speedway contacted him by email and attached a photo of Dale signing the seat — his seat. And he knew it was true.
"I thought I may have been getting the one seat, so that was a surprise when I saw four of them," Shultz said.
He is not exactly sure what he is going to do with the seats. He received a row of four of them that are about six feet long. His neighbor is going to help him build a bench for them to sit on and they will either find a place in his home or on his back porch.
"My neighbor is a pretty good carpenter, so we are going to build something fancy," Shultz said.
"This is something that is really special. It will stay in this household for the rest of my life and my kids will keep long after."